White People Make Up 42% of the Poor, But Take in Whopping 69% of Government Benefits - Your Black World
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White People Make Up 42% of the Poor, But Take in Whopping 69% of Government Benefits

by Yvette Carnell

If you pay any attention to right wing media, then you know that folks on the right are obsessed with unraveling the safety net, mostlyfood stamps because they believe that the safety net benefits mostly black and brown people:

  • All of the candidates delighted in calling President Obama the food stamp president during the 2012 campaign.
  • Also during the campaign, Rick Santorum said “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money.”
  • Newt Gingrich famously added, “I will tell black people to demand paychecks instead of food stamps.”


As we edge closer to Obama making some ‘grand bargain’ to cut Social Security and Medicare, it is important to remember that the vast majority of people who receive government benefits are white. In fact, whites receive a disproportionate amount of benefits.

The Economix blog at the New York Times reported the following in February of last year:

Another finding of the study is that the distribution of benefits no longer aligns with the demography of poverty. African-Americans, who make up 22 percent of the poor, receive 14 percent of government benefits, close to their 12 percent population share.

White non-Hispanics, who make up 42 percent of the poor, receive 69 percent of government benefits – again, much closer to their 64 percent population share.

Read that again. It says blacks comprise 22 percent of the poor, but blacks only take in 14 percent of government benefits. Conversely,  whites make up 42 percent of the poor , but take in a disproportionate 69 percent of government benefits. 

If Republicans cut these programs, as part of the sequester or any other backdoor maneuver, their issue will be with their own base, not blacks. Although, I’m not yet convinced that some white right wingers wouldn’t starve themselves if it meant robbing a black or brown person of a spoonful of broth.

Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill and campaign staffer turned writer. She is currently an editor and contributor to Yourblackworld. You can reach Yvette via Twitter @YvetteDC or on Facebook.

 Please subscribe to Your Black World by clicking here.  Also, please join Dr. Boyce Watkins and Min. Louis Farrakhan for a forum on “Wealth, Education, Family and Community” at the Forum Arena at The University of Illinois at Chicago on March 30.  You can get your free reservation to the event by clicking here. 


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